Funny how things sort of flow into other things. My near-fatal brush with time yesterday inspired the blog post for yesterday (which yes, ironically, is a day late), which then inspired the supplemental about how time has been a part of my learning curve with relationships, which then leads to today’s actual post about relationships which was inspired by my morning commute listening to my favorite morning DJ.
On today’s show the DJ was speaking with one of the show’s interns who had some very exciting news to share with the world. In a couple weeks she was going to the airport to meet for the very first time a girl she had been talking to on Instagram and the two of them were very seriously into each other and wanted to meet up and see if something would happen. Our show intern lives in NJ but our intimate Instagram infatuation lives in Oregon. Okay it’s cute, it’s a modern ‘You’ve Got Mail’ which was at the time a modern version of Parfumerie and its many other incarnations. I’m not being bitter or a curmudgeon here. In fact I thought it was exciting. Yes it was fun to hear the eagerness and anxiety of a woman who has never physically met this person she is so into now. And the whole situation certainly makes for good, keep you entertained but not too engrossed radio. But I was fascinated by how everyone else, the other members of the morning radio show and all the listeners who called in, reacted to the situation. Everyone was so ready to cram these two strangers into a relationship. One of the other hosts was already asking their intern if she would be willing to move to Oregon! People, they haven’t met yet. They’ve exchanged texts, Instagram….things (I don’t do much social media), and FaceTime’d each other. Call me old fashioned, but digital bytes a relationship does not make. But yes I am rooting for them and I’m hoping for the best for them but do we need every caller to call in saying ‘oh I met my spouse online’ or ‘oh my god it’s the best meeting story ever and you have to get together’?
Until I had started purposefully and explicitly avoiding relationships, I never realized just how much exposure and influence relationships had on literally everything I did. I turn on the radio and it’s either a song about a relationship or the DJ is talking about who’s dating whom, who they should or shouldn’t be dating, or at night you get those lovelorn listeners who call in to ask our wise nighttime DJ for help. My movies all end up with some form of romantic subplot (except Pacific Rim, you go guys, that was such a hugely surprising departure from the norm) and my TV shows and novels follow suit. But I never minded before because just like everyone and everything else, I was part of that machine. Now that I have removed myself from the running, I sometimes feel like there’s no space for me. It’s different having never been in a relationship, you never put your name on the ballot and never had to worry. But I was there, I tasted it all, and now I’m pushing against the current to try and get my head above water again.
The constant reminders are weighing on me. I haven’t yet learned to shield myself or handle the barrage. And let’s not forget that I am honestly and truly happy for one of my best friends as he begins his first relationship with a wonderful girl. Aside from tiny, painful, stinging moments, I don’t really miss Beautiful. There are too many other emotions and thoughts to process on top of everything else before I can even consider something like missing her. No, I miss being in a relationship. I miss the companionship, the feeling of belonging, the ticket to the inner sanctum that everyone and everything wants me to believe is the secret to happiness.
FOMO. Fear of missing out.
What experiences or journeys am I missing out on because I am not in a relationship. Are there any? What if I’ve just been duped, fooled into thinking there are. What am I barring myself from enjoying. Friends and friends of friends are finding people. My best friend. Bird. Another friend’s wedding two years ago. I don’t need the movies and the music and the shows to tell me what it’s like to be in a relationship, to portray what I’m missing. I know because relationships were part of my life-blood for the majority of my life. But now I have become acutely super-aware of it all, like how the road suddenly looks a lot rougher when you’re driving a car you can’t afford to damage.
I would never consider living in a way where I have to hide myself from all these things. I could never be so weak as to just choose to abstain myself from participating in life because I’m afraid a picture of two people happily in love together will reduce me to dust. Though I know there are certain people, certain couples, who would definitely do that to me. I know my limits and I know to try and protect myself by not seeking the things that would destroy me. But I do need to learn to live in the regular world. I have to understand that I don’t have to feel like I’m missing out because no one is missing me. Relationships are everywhere, and when I am more cognizant of what it means to me and what I want, I know I will be able to jump into the water again. The current keeps flowing. It never stops because one person isn’t in. I need to make peace with the fact that the water I left is going to change, flow out into the bigger wider world, leave me behind. I will make a new place for myself.
But right now, I miss everything, and it just really hurts.
Man: 22 Loneliness: 7